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Xi Jinping says China, Russia have 'similar goals'
During a meeting with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Moscow and Beijing "share similar goals," CNN reported on March 20.
"We have exerted efforts for the prosperity of our respective countries…we can cooperate and work together to achieve our goals," Xi said, as quoted by CNN.
The Chinese leader also expressed support for Putin to be reelected in 2024. "I believe the Russian people will continue to strongly support you."
Xi arrived in Moscow on March 20 at Putin's invitation for his first state visit to Russia since the beginning of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year. At 3:30 p.m. Kyiv time, the two leaders started the meeting.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier said that the main topic of the meeting would be the war in Ukraine, as well as China's so-called peace plan. Xi's visit to Russia will last until March 22.
"It is symbolic that exactly 10 years ago we met here – you made your first visit as President of the People's Republic of China to Russia. During this time, we have taken significant steps in the development of our relations," Putin said at the meeting, according to a press release published by his office.
Putin added that the trade turnover of the two countries "has more than doubled" over those 10 years, rising from $87 billion to $185 billion.
The Russian leader also said the Kremlin "carefully reviewed" China's 12-point "peace plan" released on the one-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion and expressed his readiness to discuss it with Xi.
Beijing's plan calls on all parties to respect the sovereignty of all nations, safeguard nuclear facilities, facilitate grain exports, and protect civilians and prisoners of war.
However, the statement also urged abandoning "the Cold War mentality" and "stopping unilateral sanctions," rhetoric frequently used by Beijing to criticize the West's response to Russia's war.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said he did not consider China's proposal a peace plan, adding that the document included respect for international law, which already made it possible to work with China. Zelensky also claimed he wanted to meet with China's Xi, which would "benefit our states and security in the world." The Wall Street Journal reported on March 13, citing people familiar with the issue, that Xi planned to speak with Zelensky after his Moscow visit.
The so-called peace plan was criticized by many of Ukraine's western allies. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Feb. 25 that there was no clear demand for the full withdrawal of Russian troops and cautioned against "dictated peace Russian-style."
China has so far failed to condemn Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories.